Devin Hester became the 10th Miami football alum selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Thursday. Hester's election makes Miami the fifth program of all time with at least 10 inductees in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Notre Dame and USC have the most inductees all-time with 14.
Michigan is third with 11 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees, followed by Pittsburgh, Ohio State and now Miami with 10. Hester is the Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee who was primarily a kick returner. Hester finished his Miami career averaging 15.6 yards per punt return with four touchdowns and 25.5 yards per kickoff return with two TDs.
The best season for Hester was as a sophomore in 2004 averaging 17.2 yards per punt return with three TDs and 25.9 yards per KOR and another score. Hester added 160 yards rushing and a TD, 10 receptions for 196 yards and had 11 tackles, five interceptions and a fumble return for a TD defensively.
Hester was a consensus All-American in 2004. Before he became a legend with the Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears and Seattle Seahawks in the NFL, Hester laid the foundation to become known as one of the best returners ever with Miami.
When Chicago drafted Hester 57th overall in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft, it was nearly unprecedented for a returner to be selected that high. Hester made an immediate impact in the NFL. Hester led the NFL with 47 punt returns for 600 yards and three touchdowns as a rookie.
Hester added 20 kickoff returns for 528 yards and a league-leading two TDs. With six return TDs in his first 13 games, Hester became a cultural phenomenon. The game that greatly cemented Hester as an NFL star was during an improbable Chicago comeback at Arizona on Monday night in week six.
Hester's impact on Chicago's comeback was reminiscent of his performance versus Louisville in 2004. Hester had a stage for the dramatic versus the Cardinals. With Miami, a 78-yard Hester punt return in the fourth quarter helped Miami rally from a 17 point deficit in a game they ultimately won 41-38.
Chicago trailed Arizona 23-3 in the second half before two defensive TDs made it a one-score game. Hester returned a punt 83 yards for a TD with 2:58 remaining to put Chicago in front 24-23. Neil Rackers missed a field goal in the final minute to secure the win. Hester added to his legacy in Superbowl XLI in Miami.
Hester scored the faster TD in Superbowl history at the time by returning the opening kickoff for a score. Former Miami wide receiver Reggie Wayne scored the second TD in Superbowl XLI on a 53-yard touchdown reception from Peyton Manning. Hester finished his career in the top 10 in several NFL categories.
Hester is the all-time NFL leader in non-offensive TDs and punt return TDs. In his NFL career, Hester finished with a 24.9-yard KOR average, five TDs and 11.7 yards per punt return and 14 TDs. Hester had a 28.5-yard KOR average with one TD and averaged 6.4 yards per punt return in the playoffs in his career.